Edwards, Eglin Combine Testing on Next-Generation F-16
Edwards, Eglin Combine Testing on
Tech. Sgt. Eric M. Grill, 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs.
Edwards Air Force Base, California -- (AFPN)
August 5, 2005 -- Combining two aircraft missions into one is not an easy feat,
but that is exactly what engineers and pilots from here and Eglin Air Force
Base, Fla., are testing. In the process, they have also combined operational and
developmental into one testing effort.
Force photo by Tom Reynolds
Five F-16 Fighting Falcons
and aircrews from the 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin deployed here
July 22 to 29 and joined two 416th Flight Test Squadron F-16s to focus primarily
on operationally testing the M4.2-plus core avionics suite upgrade to the F-16.
Lessons learned from both types of testing will be applied to improve future
versions of the upgrade.
The F-16 is a compact, multirole fighter aircraft designed to be highly
maneuverable in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. There are several
versions of the F-16 used by the United States, including the Block 40 and Block
The Block 40 F-16 primary mission fills the air-to-surface attack role, while
the Block 50’s primary mission is destruction and suppression of enemy air
The M4.2-plus avionics upgrade combines both combat roles into a single fighter
aircraft. The upgrade is being completed using spiral development, meaning all
program stakeholders, including developmental testers, contractors and
operational units work together early in the process to ensure testing is
conducted more efficiently. This helps align operational objectives and is
geared toward providing mature, stable systems to the warfighter as quickly as
"The M4.2-plus upgrade achieves the goal of the Air Force's F-16 Common
Configuration Implementation Program to support common aircraft equipment and
core avionics software capabilities," said Shauna Urwiller, Global Power
Fighters program manager from the 416th FLTS.
Testing included evaluation of the weapons systems, hardware improvements on the
multifunctional information distribution system and a look at the latest radar
detection technologies, she said.
"This is the F-16 we've been waiting for," said Lt. Col. J. Todd Hicks, 85th TES
commander. "When I first started flying (F-16s) we had free-falling munitions
and limited air-to-air (combat) capability. It's been an evolution of more than
20 years to be able to execute all tactical combat missions, ranging from
precision engagement to suppression of enemy air defenses to air superiority.
The F-16 continues to be the world's premier multi-role fighter."
Aircrews from the 85th TES and visiting people with the 422nd Test and
Evaluation Squadron from Nellis AFB, Nev., evaluated the current F-16 M4.2-plus
avionics suite during operationally representative SEAD engagements at the Air
Force Flight Test Center.
"Combined operational and developmental testing is intended to exercise the
avionics and new hardware components to include the high-speed anti-radiation
missile-targeting system in operational scenarios," said Capt. Brian Griffin,
M4.2-plus program flight test engineer for the 416th FLTS.
Aircrews also evaluated the pilot vehicle interface of avionics systems to
include mechanization, systems degradation and operational suitability, he said.
When the final spiral is rolled out, in about two years, and then fully
implemented operationally, Colonel Hicks said it will give combatant commanders
the capability to use one F-16 that can carry out the mission of two.
of Air Force Materiel Command News Service)